BOSTON — Brad Marchand and the NHL Department of Player Safety aren’t seeing what happened Sunday night the same way.
Such disagreements tend to happen with any player facing supplemental discipline.
The Boston Bruins winger was suspended three games Monday for slew-footing Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a win over the Vancouver Canucks.
As for the suspension itself, Marchand unsurprisingly and wisely took the largely diplomatic approach.
“I was obviously surprised just with the way things have played out with some of those calls recently,” Marchand said Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. “My opinion on it doesn’t really matter. Obviously, it doesn’t change anything. It is what it is.”
Once asked to give his assessment of the play, not the suspension itself, Marchand went into great detail.
“It is very easy to sit there and stop the camera and play it frame by frame and say I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that and you can’t hit him this way, you can’t hit him that way because you’re going into the boards,” Marchand said. “He’s 6-foot-what? Four? I don’t know that he’s going to fall when I hit him. I’m expecting him to hit me. I don’t know that it’s Ekman-Larsson. I’m not looking at him — I’m playing the puck. I have it, it’s poked away from me, I’m trying to make contact with the player. I think he’s going to hit me, I’m trying to hit him back. The way that our bodies get intertwined, he’s bumping into me, I’m bumping into him, we’re close to each other.
“If I’m in a certain position because I’m small — the other night a guy hit me in the head and I was like, ‘why aren’t you calling it?’ (The ref) was like, ‘It’s cause you’re small, he’s going to hit you in the head every time.’ I’m smaller, I’m going to get leverage over a tall guy, that’s just the way it is. I’m not going to sit there and say I was thinking this or that, I was trying to hit a guy that I thought was trying to hit me.
“That’s how things play out sometimes. I mean it’s a fast game, things happen in a split second and when I go in to hit a guy I’m not thinking ‘I better lighten up here because my leg is a little bit behind his.’ That’s not how this thing plays out. … I didn’t kick his legs out, I didn’t do anything like that. That’s why I was a little bit caught off guard, but they saw it one way and we see it a different way.”
There was no penalty on the play, which is part of the reason it was surprising to see he even was having a hearing.
“I was a little surprised, there was no penalty on the play so I really didn’t think twice about it (in the moment), Marchand said. “I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I heard about it after the game, went through the process yesterday. Listen, I understand the NHL looks at everything extremely close. There’s cameras everywhere and they review every single play. So, they’re going to call it the way they see fit and they felt that was worth a call.”
Marchand will be out Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings, Thursday against the Nashville Predators and Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’ll be eligible to return next Wednesday against, coincidentally, the Canucks.